Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Little Authority

I rejected my first non-spam comment, but I felt a little guilty about it. It basically said a) I didn't read your post, b) something that proved that he didn't read my post, and c) my blog is crap.

I started comment moderation to catch spam, not to censure comments. Your comments have changed my opinions, on occasion, or have helped me to solidify arguments. I just couldn't see the point of this particular comment.

Which brings me to a question about blogs:

One of the qualities of a successful blog is its "authority" (or so Technorati calls it). That's a rather biased way of looking at blogging. It supposes that blogs must, perforce, follow the model of journalists and academics: a blog is a one-way street of authority. I'm the knowledge bringer. You're the readers. I get to speak from on-high. You get to passively appreciate, comment, or question.

That's a particularly narrow view of blogging, although it may be the normative model. As my experience with releasing "untested" variants for Puerto Rico showed me, a vast majority of people don't want to be engaged in a process of dialog; they want to be told what to do.

Is there room for a blogging dialog? Where the author and the commenters work together to arrive at a consensus? If I am supposed to be "right" every time I post, then I should be doing a whole lot more research and citing before posting. But if I'm not right all the time, am I failing your unstated expectations? Would that make my blog "crap"?

It may be that discussions among equals belong only in forums and chats. One can't help notice the caste difference between the Blogger, whose words are front and center, who wields controls over posting and the format of the page, from the commenters, who can't even edit their posts without deleting the old ones.

In which case, blogging really should be more like academics, and the 99% of the bloggers who are posting without checking their facts are wasting everyone else's time. Yet, I find it hard to look at blogging that way.

I reserve the right to post humbly, to assert an idea while accepting the possibility that I may be wrong and have to retract or change my opinion. I think if I only stick to ideas that I have researched thoroughly, I may as well be writing books, not blogging. I hope you are not investing your time here to read the whole truth, worked out.

In fact, I require a bit more of you than other bloggers; you have to keep on your toes and catch me when I make a mistake. I want a place to share ideas that are not necessarily wholly formed and need peer review by equally intelligent and capable people: that's you.


I have drafted the half-yearly index for Gone Gaming, and with it I will be posting a farewell message. Although, I may send GG a few articles now and then.

The only reason that I haven't converted to the new blogger yet is because people whose profiles include blogs with multiple contributors can't convert to the new format; or I'm just special, or something.

After I post this Tuesday, I will drop out of Gone Gaming, and then hopefully convert. Hilarity then ensues.


I have a few links saved on my Firefox tabs at work, for which you will have to wait. In the meantime:

Thomas Laursen has unveiled Board Game Prices, an excellent web 2.0 game pricing site.

The New York Times weighs in on the Super Columbine affair.

Valerie Putman makes an intersting observation about the ethics of going for the "dumb win".

And Home Tribune News covers Euro-games.



Soccer Dad said...

I'm not sure I agree with your "authority" observation.
Authority in technorati comes from the number of incoming links. So authority is imposed from above; not determined so much by your readers. (unless they link to you.)

Yehuda said...

That's the point. It's not authority so much as popularity.

In today's world, that may amount to about the same thing.